Oh, my friends... where to begin?
When we last spoke, way back in October of 2011, life was pleasant, and your humble correspondent was enjoying a rare optimistic streak. I shared with you the happy news that I'd crossed the 20,000 word mark on my novel, and that the words were flowing like water. Everyone in the Barlow household was excitedly looking forward to the upcoming holiday season, which in my household begins at Halloween (horror movie marathons! Woohoo!). Even the readership of this blog had skyrocketed. To paraphrase one of my favorite supporting characters from The Simpsons: "Everything was coming up Milhouse!"
Unfortunately, life has a funny way of kicking you in the teeth when you least expect it. (Which just goes to show you that life is one flexible son of a bitch.)
Towards the end of October, my father-in-law, who has had health problems for many years, took a turn for the worse. For most of November he was in the hospital, and was eventually placed in hospice care around Thanksgiving. I stopped all work on the book and the blog, and our family turned its attention to caring for, and spending time with, him.
I wouldn't trade the experience for the world, and I was glad my wife, my children, and I had the chance to spend an abundance of time with him in his final days. He left this world on December 2nd, 2011, and left an enormous void in our lives.
Obviously, in the immediate aftermath of his passing, I was in no condition to resume the book, or even to leave my wife alone long enough to put in some time at the keyboard. We spent the rest of December healing, and enjoying the company of each other and our children.
In early January, I pulled the novel-in-progress out again and re-read it. That's always a dangerous action, since I'd been away from it for a couple of months and barely remembered the story. Fortunately, I was pleased with what I found, and in the intervening weeks I have quietly resumed work on the book. Today I crossed the 34,000 word mark, which means I've almost completed the middle third of the story. As I said in my last post, once I hit the 40,000-word mark, I'll give you a new post on the State of the Novel. I'm looking forward to writing it, as I think I have a lot of observations and feedback to share.
I appreciate the many kind words and inquiries I've received over the past few months. No, I have not given up on the blog; my family has just been picking up the pieces, and writing/blogging were both relegated to a way back burner for a while. I'm sure you understand. And if you don't... well, tough.
I'll be blogging on a much more regular basis now. I hope I still have some readers.
How about you folks? Started any new writing projects in my absence? Leave a comment and let me know.
P.S. Why did I call this post "Of Mice, Men, and Mochas?" Well, obviously, the first part is a reference to how our best laid plans can go wrong at a moment's notice. And the second part is because mochas are awesome. I even love typing the word. Mochas mochas mochas mochas mochas! Yippee!